You remember my drawing of the line
for last year's New York Comic Con? Well, today I got to Javitz at ten and saw that the line was outside the building. It went from approximately the middle of the building (circa 35th Street) down to 34th then back up to 40th
Street where it turned West for half a block. So I it took me twenty minutes to walk to the convention…and then twenty to find the end of the line. At this point I called trakkie
and made her very glad she hadn't come.
The line only took a little over an hour—everyone in it had a ticket, so we were basically just bottlenecked trying to get in. And although there are many more doors to the Javitz center than the one they were letting us through, I can't fault this plan. It meant that once you were in, the flow of people was pretty easy to navigate. You could go to a panel, bop up to the booths, and get back for another panel in a half an hour, a feat which was just not possible last year.
The rooms for the panels were also much better set up (AV equipment that works! Yay!), and they assigned rooms of appropriate size. There was none of the "let's but the twelve most popular names in comics in a room that seats twenty and see if the fans at the door will start death matches to get in" stuff that they did last year. And no showing up at a door and being told you needed a special ticket. I didn't try to go to any of the celebrity things, but it looked like people were getting into those OK, too.
Most surprising of all—the panels were actually good.
Last year I went to maybe two panels that were interesting over two days at the con and spent the rest of the time hearing the same damn Tokyopop pitch or being subjected to pretentious nonsense so boring the panelists were falling asleep (see last year's report).
This year, they had a lot more panels scheduled with interesting topics, and a lot fewer "We're VIZ and this is our fall line-up" panels.( The panels in far more excruciating detail than anyone wants to read about )
Saturday was much more sedate—I spent a half hour in line with dotfic
, then hung around and went to gryphonrose
's signing. I went to a few panels, but all the panelists were falling asleep into their microphones. Chip Kidd was far less entertaining than I'd hoped, and the panel he did on superheroes in literature was not helped by the extreme awkwardness of one of the authors (whose book I still want to read) and the fact that Paul Dini had a glazed look and answered all the questions by rote as if he'd answered them a hundred times previously that weekend (which he probably had). At another panel, I got to ask one of the screenwriters for "Law and Order: SVU" how he manages to make an hour-long exposition dump dramatic. His answer: always have the speakers walking or doing something else, keep the scenes really short, and make all the people the police interview contentious. There's no drama if everyone's helpful.
There were tons of cos-players around: your stormtroopers, though I didn't see a Vader, someone dressed as Anakin who'd looked freakishly like Hayden Christensen in Revenge of the Sith
, a woman in the Princess Leia slave outfit who actually pulled it off (she didn't have a wrap, though, and that's an awful lot of skin to be showing in February), a Princess Amidala, an Obi-Wan, various women and men in spandex unitards (all of whom had the bodies to do it, too, which, believe me, is not easy for the men), and my favorite—a woman dressed as a tentacle. Not a tentacle monster, just a tentacle. With suckers all down the front, clearly a home-made costume. I wanted to take a picture, but she was on the phone.
Next year, at least, they seem to have come to their senses and are having it in April. We may still have to stand for a few hours in line, but at least it won't be twenty degrees with a cross-breeze.